Places We Love: Local Kitchen & Wine Bar

Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite restaurant in Toronto is, my response is always Local Kitchen & Wine Bar. Situated on the edge of Parkdale, Local is a perfect mix of traditional Italian and urban cool. Thanks to a small menu that changes seasonally, Local is able to focus on quality. J and I have dined here several times - including a seating at their chef’s table. I’m not sure if it’s the decor (hello mason jars full of tomato sauce that remind me of my nonna’s house), or the comfortable atmosphere, or the impeccable wine list and menu, or the friendly and knowledgeable staff that keep us coming back. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. But I am sure of the fact that in multiple trips, Local has never disappointed. That’s why J and I quickly made reservations when we heard about their 3 course dinner series, in collaboration with the culinary arts program at George Brown College. 

Each dish, focusing on a different region of Italy, was prepared by one of three chefs – Fabio Bondi, the Head Chef at Local, Kyle Rindinella, the Sous Chef at Local, and Alessandro La Pianta, an intern from George Brown. I really liked the fact that the menu clearly articulated each chef’s inspiration for their dish. For this dinner series the menu consisted of salt cured mackerel with fennel and blood orange, orecchiette with ricotta and cinghiale (a.k.a wild boar), and duck breast with sauerkraut, squash and apples. As always, the food was excellent. The standout for me was definitely the mackerel. The fish was flaky and slightly sweet, a product of including orange zest during the curing process I assume. The combination of the fish with the fennel and blood orange proved to be a refreshing start to the meal. In fact, it was so good that I forgot to take a picture before diving in! The orecchiette were soft and smooth, further accented by the meaty taste of the cinghiale and the dollop of ricotta that melted into the sun dried tomato butter sauce. The juicy duck breast was served rare, on a bed of warm sauerkraut dotted with bits of squash, and topped with crunchy julienned apples. J and I ended our meal with a dessert plate that included chocolate cake with espresso cream, apple fritters, and a cannolo with chocolate chips and orange zest.

Local is all about comfortable charm, so make sure to savour every minute of your meal for a true taste of La Dolce Vita.

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